Hats Off to Breton Women

Photograph by Charles Fréger

Plouguenast, Côtes-d’Armor
Each Breton ensemble is specific to a place: an individual village and sometimes the surrounding area, known as a pays. In these photos, taken in Brittany with a translucent backdrop, each outfit is identified by village and département, an administrative unit of modern France.

Photographs by Charles Fréger

Pont-l’Abbé, Finistère
The high point of Breton fashion is the coiffe, or headdress—and the most striking coiffe is that of the area around Pont-l’Abbé.

Fouesnant, Finistère
The forerunner of this coiffe was famous in the late 1800s due to the attention of the Pont-Aven school of artists, Paul Gauguin in particular.

Photograph by Charles Fréger

St.-Nicolas-du-Pélem, Côtes-d’Armor

Photographs by Charles Fréger

St.-Évarzec, Finistère
The wings of this coiffe are delicately pinned down and heavily starched to hold their shape. Even light mist will deform them.

Rostrenen, Côtes-d’Armor
This funeral garb has velvet and embroidery on the skirt, lace and ribbons on the sleeve ends.

Photographs by Charles Fréger

Cesson-Sévigné, Ille-et-Vilaine

Batz-sur-Mer, Loire-Atlantique

Photograph by Charles Fréger

Pontivy, Morbihan
The fashion in Pontivy was sober. Decorations were confined to embroidery on the apron and sometimes on the coiffe.

Photographs by Charles Fréger

Lorient, Morbihan

Quimper, Finistère

Cancale, Ille-et-Vilaine

Photograph by Charles Fréger

Châteauneuf-du-Faou, Finistère

Pleudihen-sur-Rance, Côtes-d’Armor

Pont-Croix, Finistère

Photograph by Charles Fréger

Île de Bréhat, Côtes-d’Armor
The embroidery on this shawl is too fancy for a funeral, although it could have been worn at the end of a prolonged period of mourning.

Photographs by Charles Fréger

Guéméné-sur-Scorff, Morbihan

Châteaulin, Finistère

Photograph by Charles Fréger

Le Croisty, Morbihan
This dress reflects the fashion of 1900. As in other parts of Brittany, the apron, of silk or satin, is colored if worn by a young woman.